This battery chainsaw buying guide is for a homeowner who wants to do their own landscaping, yard maintenance, firewood cutting or an individual or business person who uses chainsaws to cut wood type of material as opposed to cutting steel, plastic, concrete, etc.
- 1 How To Choose A Cordless Chainsaw
- 1.1 What You Are Going To Use It On
- 1.2 How Often Are You Going To Be Using It
- 1.3 How Long Is The Task Of Cutting
- 1.4 What Other Tools You (Would) Use Besides The Chainsaw
- 1.5 Battery Chainsaw Specifications
- 1.6 Safety Features On Cordless Chainsaw
- 1.7 Cordless Chainsaw Price
- 1.8 Operational Challenges Of Battery Chainsaw
- 1.9 Do Due Diligence And Read Reviews
How To Choose A Cordless Chainsaw
So you have decided to buy a battery chainsaw but still wondering how to go about it. Buying something can appear easy on the surface but it is a taunting task especially what you buy has some technicality to it and probably going to use it more than once. A battery chainsaw is not a disposable or consumable product for one-time use and it also has some technicalities to consider not to mention some safety precautions to observe.
What You Are Going To Use It On
First thing that you would know have a perspective on is what you are going to be using the chainsaw on, what type of wood are you going to be cutting. Though there are different uses of a battery chainsaw, the assumption here is you are going to be cutting wood type of material. You know, typical home use like pruning, felling trees, trimming, firewood, clearing, etc.
You may also be in business but not necessarily as a homeowner but the jobs you do are primarily for cutting wood. Typically battery chainsaws are meant for use in cutting wood material rather than cutting plastic, steel or concrete.
Knowing the type of wood, you will be cutting will help with choosing a chainsaw with the right power and chain type. Some wood is very tough and hard requiring relatively higher chainsaw power. At the same time the right chain type will augment the power of the chainsaw to match the strength of the wood. There are different chain types suitable for different wood strengths. You would not want a chain that becomes blunt quickly or overheats easily while still cutting.
In addition to knowing the type of wood to decide on the power of the chainsaw and type of chain, you will also need to know the size or diameter of the wood being cut. Here we are looking at the size of the timber (if cutting timber), the size branches if pruning or trimming, the size of tree stumps or stem if making firewood, etc. Knowing the size of the wood being cut will help determine the bar length of the cordless chainsaw.
So when you know what you are going to use the chainsaw on, you will be able to decide on the 3 things;
- power of the chainsaw (mainly voltage),
- the type of chain (which you can purchase as a spare),
- the chainsaw bar length
What even adds more importance to knowing this is that some cordless chainsaws come as packages with extra chains or bars. These extras add to the cost of the chainsaw so deciding on taking the extra cost is dependent on knowing if these extras are what you need or you would rather buy a spare chain or separately. Buying them separately will give you the option to choose the type of chain or bar. A chain has pitch, gauge and the different ways the teeth are linked depending on what is going to be cut. So having this choice is important especially if you are going to be cutting hardwood like maple or mesquite.
The same goes for the chain bar because it is made of different materials that you choose from depending on intended use. You may want bar guide material that does not heat up easily or warble or has a special design to it.
How Often Are You Going To Be Using It
A battery driven chainsaw is a not meant to be a one-time use tool, so determining how often you are going to be using the chainsaw is another point to consider. As a tool, it is an investment but frequency of use goes a long way in influencing how much one is prepared to spend. So knowing how often the chainsaw will be used will help you decide how much you will want to spend on the chainsaw.
How frequent the chainsaw will be used also has a bearing on the quality or brand of the chainsaw. Say may be you will not be using the chainsaw that often may be 6 times in a year, in that case you might want to buy a cheap brand.
So when you know how many times you are likely to use the cordless chainsaw in a year you will be in a better position to decide at least on 2 things;
- how much you want to spend on the chainsaw (budget)
- which brand to buy
How Long Is The Task Of Cutting
When buying a chainsaw do not overlook the length of time you need to complete the task. This is important because of things;
- Your Strength or fitness level
- Comfort Level & Your Experience
- Battery operating power and length
Here is why:
Strength Or Physical Stature
Your fitness level is important to consider when buying a battery chainsaw. Though a certain weight, say 5kg, may not seem much but consider operating the same chainsaw for 30 minutes non-stop. Would your physical stature permit that? So weight is key to consider when purchasing a cordless chainsaw. know how much it weighs with and without the battery.
Your Experience & Comfort Level
Experience of using a chainsaw also counts as well as the features it has to make it comfortable to operate. Features generally improve the efficiency and comfort of use and a cordless chainsaw with well-thought features is what you need. There are different features to look for in a chainsaw depending on what you want.
That means when you know what you are looking for you are likely to pick the best chainsaw for what you want it for. There is no one-size fits all. First establish your needs and what to expect from the chainsaw and find one that closely matches what you are looking for. Features play a crucial role in getting the ideal chainsaw you want.
See Chainsaw Battery Features
Battery Operating Power And Time
A battery for cordless outdoor power equipment comes with its set of specifications one of which is the power it has and how long it can take to dissipate it, measured in Watt hour or Amperes per hour (Ah). The higher the number the longer the battery can run. The other specification is the voltage and the power of a chainsaw is also determined by its voltage. However here we are more concerned about the length of operation; how long will the battery run before it runs out?
Depending on your fitness level and the amount of work to do, the size of battery plays an major role. There is no point in buying a battery that take 4 hours to run out while you can only work for 1 hour and rest for 2 hours. This is important because a 4.0Ah battery would be more expensive than a 1.0Ah battery. Normally the charge times is the same for batteries.
Some cordless chainsaws come with extra or different size batteries affecting the overall price on the battery. So when taking into account your strength and workload you can decide on the size of the battery to buy.
What Other Tools You (Would) Use Besides The Chainsaw
Often a user of a cordless chainsaw would require different other power tools like a trimmer, lawn mower, pole saw, etc. Now what is important to know is that manufacturers have come with a way to have cordless outdoor power tools that can interchange batteries. That is to say one same battery can power 2 or more different power tools.
This means if you are going to be using other battery operated power tools in addition to the cordless chainsaw consider buying a chainsaw that belongs to this family of tools. If that is the case, also note that batteries are not normally interchangeable between brands and at the same time that might be the same within the same brand. Some brands have created platforms that a set of cordless power tools operate on sometimes due to different technologies used.
As an example some manufactures would have a family of cordless power tools that operate on 40V batteries but not on 60V batteries though from the same manufacturer. In another instance there may be 2 different types of batteries operating on the same voltage but using different technologies such that they are not inter-changeable.
Apart from these complications (though worth investigating when making a buying decision), you will be able to know which brand to pick at the same time looking at the budget. Having a broader perspective of what you will need in the future will help you make a better investment. You want find it wise not to buy a no-name cordless chainsaw but to buy a reputable brand that also makes other outdoor power equipment.
So when you know what other tools you use or will want to use in the future, you will be in a better position to;
- pick the brand
- pick the platform the cordless power tools will be operating on
- again know your budget
Battery Chainsaw Specifications
Another important aspect to consider is knowing and understanding battery chainsaw specifications. Some specifications are worth knowing more than others but that is not to say they are not as important. The ones that you need to know and have when buying a chainsaw are;
- Chainsaw Voltage
- Guide Bar Length
- Battery Size
- Type Of Battery (Battery System)
- Chainsaw Weight
- Max Bar Length
- Min Bar Length
- Chain Pitch
- Chain Gauge
- Tool Dimensions
Nice To Know Specs
- Number Of Drive Links
- Chain Oil Capacity
- Sound Level
- Crankcase Material
Safety Features On Cordless Chainsaw
A chainsaw is a dangerous tool and there are reported cases of people accidentally hurting themselves with them. So it is important to be aware of the dangers and precautions to take to reduce the risk. One top most risk a chainsaw has is kickback. The next one is vibration which can cause accidents if uncontrollable.
Cordless Chainsaw Price
Generally, the price of a battery powered chainsaw ranges from a little over $50 for 4 inch pruners to about $500 for 18 Inch and 80V larger ones. This is the price range to expect for a chainsaw without battery and charger including other accessories. Normally the price increases with the voltage and bar length.
The length of the bar and voltage are not the only parameters that influence the cost. Features add to the overall cost of the tool. In some cases the brand can also influence the price tag.
Operational Challenges Of Battery Chainsaw
Almost every tool has its set of operational challenges and a chainsaw is no exception. So it is important to have an idea of the problems you might have when owning and operating a chainsaw. When you are aware of these general problems, you will be aware of and looking for information related to them when shopping the right chainsaw. it is worth knowing that a chainsaw can overheat when in use, the chain can become blunt and need sharpening or replacement, the chain needs to be tensioned and oiled from time to time when in use. Further, a cordless chainsaw needs some level of maintenance though it is not as intensive as that of a gas chainsaw.
Another thing that you need to be aware of is the accessories that you might need with the chainsaw. How easy would it be to get a spare chain, another battery or replace the guide bar, etc. It will not be very thoughtful to buy a chainsaw that is hard to find its spare parts unless it was bought as a disposable item for one-time or few-times use. If you intend to keep the cordless chainsaw for some time to come, it must have accessories and parts available.
Speaking of parts, it is also important to have some warranty to it. The chainsaw should carry some warranty and guarantee such that it can be returned for a refund or exchange once not working as desired within a certain period of time. Some come with 3 year warranties and refunds or exchange if not working. So here the reputation of the brand also comes in. Customer support is important.
One way to know if customer support is good enough is from customer reviews. Though each case can be judged on its merits, you can at least can an idea of the quality of support. As mentioned below doing due diligence will help a long way.
Do Due Diligence And Read Reviews
When buying a chainsaw or any tool for that matter, it is advisable to do your own due diligence. After considering all the above you should be in a position select or have in mind 3 to 5 different chainsaws to choose from. Though there might some major variances among the chainsaws that are some subtle differences that can swing your buying decision to another direction. These subtleties can be picked up from reading reviews from other users and comparison reviews from some reputable retailers.
Look for reviews online to find out what other users are saying about the chainsaw. Buyer reviews can be very key in deciding to finally purchase a particular cordless chainsaw. Some reviews will reveal pros and cons that a manufacturer will not reveal. A buyer review may reveal that a chainsaw is not strong enough to handle hardwood like oak, maple, etc. but ok overall. So if you have oak or maple trees in your yard that chainsaw would not be a good choice. On the flip side if you have relatively soft trees you will buy the saw with confidence and certainty.
However, buyer reviews should be trusted with a pinch of salt. Not every review is genuine even from reputable merchants especially when the product does not have negative or critical points. As a tip, when reading reviews put more emphasis on negative ones to see what you might not like about the chainsaw or how to overcome it if you go ahead and buy it anyway. Since you already liked the chainsaw, positive reviews would just be a cherry on top.
There are also some retailers who do comparisons between closely related chainsaws to help you with a buying decision. In some instances, these retailers buy different chainsaws and put them to a test to compare them. This would be useful information if you one of the chainsaws is a candidate. From these kind of reviews, you will be able to know why one chainsaw is better than the other on certain aspects.
Sometimes knowing the chainsaw is not as efficient when it is used in the cold outdoors than during warmer times. This can be a deal breaker for you if you would be working in cold weather most of the time.
Yet again, some comparison points do not mean much or can be overcome somehow and worth not deciding against the chainsaw. As an example the comparison review may reveal that the battery gauge is not visible enough when working at a certain angle or the oil reservoir leaks when the chainsaw is held upside down. Such things are good to know but do not key in buying decision. If the bar length, voltage and speed are right, these become minor.